Marrakesh uses tensile structures to green

The Marrakesh climate summit has been hailed a success, despite the difficulty in finding a broad consensus due to the wide range of green ideas the event showcased.

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Green energy on display

Exterior lighting for the summit site was environmentally friendly for optimum energy efficiency, while solar panels and trees were used as sources of renewable energy for the Marrakech summit.

Displays, posters and art installations were made of recycled materials to demonstrate the impact of climate change. Recycling bins were another visible feature of the site. Transport was provided by Chinese electric buses and French Velib bicycles.

Reusable structures

Central to the site were a series of reusable structures, covering 10 hectares. These will be dismantled and used elsewhere.

The Marrakech Hall comprised two wooden structural elements with no sides; however, the centrepiece was an enormous tensile tented structure, translucent and waterproof, that protected delegates from extremes of temperature.

Tensile structures and the environment

Fabric structures can be extremely environmentally friendly. The use of recycled and sustainable materials can create structures that are an energy-efficient and sustainable alternative to traditional roofing.

Several of the original structures associated with the O2 Arena have been dismantled and used elsewhere. These structures have a 50-year life span and have had a useful life in locations across the globe after being reconditioned and weatherproofed.

By maximising natural light and increasing heat and shade protection, the structure in Marrakech demonstrated the sustainability and eco credentials of a tensile structure.

How fabric structures can help you go green

A tensile structure is a highly-efficient structural design that reduces construction costs. If you are interested in these lightweight and sustainable structures, you can find information online at sites like about who can help withTensile Fabric Structures?

There are any number of sustainable elements to a tensile structure – a lower carbon footprint, a reduction in the urban heat island (UHI) effect, and the ability to reuse structures as demonstrated in Marrakech.

Many membranes are free from plasticisers, stabilisers and odours and are chemically inert. Other fabrics can be extremely robust and do not degrade over the lifetime of the structure. The environmental impact can be lessened even further by reusing and recycling fabrics, making tensile fabric structures the architecture of the future – a point the Marrakech structures highlighted.

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